By MacKenzie Bates
For the Forsyth County News
Brody Westbrooks admits he has not pitched well on the road against Forsyth Central throughout his career at North Forsyth.
“I was just trying to feel it out,” Westbrooks said. “I had a feeling coming here, knowing that I haven’t pitched my best.”
Some early-game jitters showed on Wednesday at Central, as Westbrooks gave up a three runs in the first inning, putting the Raiders in an early hole. But those were the last Bulldogs tallies of the game, and Westbrooks shook the early hiccup off to deliver one of his best outings of the season as the Raiders defeated the Bulldogs 4-3 on Wednesday night.
“Even after giving up those three runs, I knew I was okay,” Westbrooks said. “I knew our offense was going to come out. We’ve been hot and scoring a lot of runs.”
The runs were unearned due to runners reach on errors. Westbrooks threw 30 of his 103 pitches in the first frame. The senior Georgia Tech signee would give up only four hits in the next six innings, striking out four batters in the complete game effort.
“He’s tough, and tough guys win,” North head coach Jim Cahill said. “He had that rocky first inning, but he fell in and made some great pitches at times. We played some great defense behind him.”
The Raiders (9-7, 3-3 Region 5-7A) took control of the game in the fourth inning. Carter Mullikin’s leadoff triple was rewarded two batters later on a Holton Payne fielder’s choice. Two batters later with two runners on base, Tyler Triche’s single to right field plated two runs to tie the game.
North would then take the lead for good on a Charlie Aiken single to centerfield, scoring Triche.
“Lately with us, hits have come in bunches,” Cahill said. “We got some timely hitting that inning. If we have a lot of innings like those the rest the of season, we’re going to win a lot of ballgames.”
Westbrooks would do the rest, retiring 11 of the final 12 batters he faced on the mound.
Central (7-6, 3-3), leading 1-0 on a wild pitch in the first inning, plated the two other runs on a two-RBI double to centerfield by Will Miller. It was one of two hits by the junior catcher.
“I thought we had a better approach at the plate,” Bulldogs head coach Kevin McCollum said. “We hit some balls right at them. We just didn’t get key hits when we needed them.”
A.J. Fiechter, Jonathan Bergmoser, Ryan Gamble and Greg Tasos recorded hits for the Bulldogs.
North Forsyth had an opportunity to add a few insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning. With Carter Mullikin at the plate, the umpire called catcher’s interference on a single that could have brought home two runs. Instead, Mullikin was awarded first and the other runners stuck at their previous spots due to the dead ball.
The inning would end on a 4-6-3 double play.
North will travel to South Forsyth and Central will hit the road to West Forsyth on Friday.